Marijuana and Hemp: Police Can't Tell the Difference - NBC10 Boston

Marijuana and Hemp: Police Can’t Tell the Difference  NBC10 Boston

The market for CBD products is booming, and to make all those oils and creams you see in the store, manufacturers need hemp.

Hemp is a key ingredient in cannabidiol products, which are sold to treat everything from anxiety to muscle pain. The rapid rise of the CBD industry means hemp is in demand. But before it reaches consumers, hemp has to move from farm to lab, and some local farmers worry transporting it could put them in legal jeopardy.

Marijuana and hemp look and smell the same, but transporting marijuana across state lines is a federal crime — even in places like Massachusetts where possessing the drug is legal. Right now, police don’t have a field test that can distinguish between the two plants. Some police officers say it’s only a matter of time before someone gets busted for a crime they may not have committed.

Chris Santee, the CEO of Colomont in northwest Vermont, grows hundreds of pounds of industrial hemp each year. The company transforms some of the crop into oils and lip balms, and also sells hemp wholesale.

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“We are exploring moving tractor trailer loads full down to a spice company in New Jersey to make lots of nice BBQ sauces, poultry spices, seasonings,” he said.

But that trip — even a short run from greenhouse to warehouse — is a risk, and Santee takes precautions to keep his shipments safe. He calls state police to let them know his hemp is on the road. Drivers also carry a certificate of authenticity to prove what they’re carrying is hemp, not illegal pot.

“Weigh stations are always a concern when you pull in there and people inspect the contents of the truck,” Santee said.

Read more: nbcboston.com

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